Saturday, January 12, 2013

Is Fan still short for Fanatic?

What does it mean to be a "fan"? I'm not certain but I'm certain that is has changed. I see and hear people saying things like they're a "fan" of sunlight or peanut butter, and at the same time, I would have said that you're a fan of a band if they owned everything that they put out, but with Amazon, and Ebay and Itunes, that's hardly the commitment it once was. So, is being a fan simply a matter of a passing fancy, or having surplus cash? Is it more involved than that, or should it be? Have you seen the episode of Portlandia where Carrie and Fred hire Aimee Mann as their maid? Some interesting questions there about what it means to be a fan- is it a demand made upon the artist? Is it some kind of obsessional fantasy projection? What does a Fan owe the subject of their Fandom? What do those subjects owe their fans?
I  believe the answers to those questions have changed, and I don't think that's either bad or good. It's just different. I might be stuck in an outmoded viewpoint, but I think that while no one owes anyone in a "fan" type of relationship, there is a certain amount of devotion necessary to call someone a "Fan"- the only real question is in which way it is appropriate to express that devotion.

Assuaging My Guilt

Ok, so I spent some money today. More than I usually do. I'm a bit, errr, umm,errr "practical" on my budgets. Truthfully, I know that I'm middle class for an American, which makes me wealthy for many other parts of the world. However, it's all about perspective and context. My family is, by and large, European, from an austere  background, but well-educated and currently enjoying the high standard of living afforded Finns, and Netherlanders, and Swedes and certain Ukrainians enjoy, so I always feel a bit behind. As you might suspect, I'm self-aware enough to know that my viewpoint is skewed, but not enough to convince limbic system....
So, I've got strangely arbitrary "rules" about what to spend on which items. It seems practical to me, but I know that it's a bit, ahem, idiosyncratic.So, partially, I don't talk about fashion on this blog too often because I'm hardly budgeting for trends.
Still, serendipity happens, and today, I happened to chance across a Neiman Marcus Last Call  . Thinking it was above my budget, I went in, just to please my wife. Now, I still spent more than my budget usually allows, but I was surprised, pleasantly. For men's fashion, there are few things I think are better than my "Trinity"- Ben Sherman,Original Penguin, and Fred Perry.  They had all three. However, I usually do not allow myself such things. $200.00 US for a casual jacket simply isn't allowed in my world. But, I purchased 4 Polo shirts, for under $100.00 US- 2 Original Penguins, and 2 Fred Perry shirts.   The Original Penguin shirts were in "The Earl" style, which I think is a pure classic that only some UFC-worshipping meathead would pass by, while the Fred Perry shirts were the original "Twin Tipped" style, which are a clue as to where my sense of style originates. Yes, I usually have rather short hair. No, I'm not one of "them". Yes, I do have an extensive collection of Dr Martens boots and shoes. No, I don't own anything by Skrewdriver.
So, while I feel guilty for spending so much on such frivolous things, I assuage my guilt by writing about it, because these things, this fashion helps to denote who I am, culturally. Yes, I think that plays into what I like in music, and what kind of movie will excite me, and so on. I don't expect to be held to some kind of tribal norm, however. I draw from where that style originates, but I'm not limited by it. Just like, if you came from Grunge, I would expect some flannel in your shirt pile, and some fuzztone on your stereo, but I wouldn't expect you to have stopped purchasing music as of 1997, and zero khaki trousers in your hamper. I also was more Anarchy than Fascism, and, as always, would be an uncomfortable fit into any one category, just like you. Still, I come from a Skin/Mod type of sensibility, and I think it's useful to note that.  While I enjoyed some Oi!, I was more drawn to Ska, Northern Soul, Mod and Reggae than to simplified punk rock. Mostly, though, I liked American Hardcore, so my take on Skinhead was much more filtered. I came to Skin by way of Youth Brigade more than by Blitz, and more Henry Rollins than Malcolm Owen. I still was aware of it all, so yes, Fred Perry over Hanes Beefy T, any day. However, I still don't like Sta Prest....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Music from Left Field

I was telling a friend that more than the stuff I know is coming out, I get excited by stuff that surprises me. So, today was good for that. Go here to hear the new Clutch song "Earth Rocker". Then, go here to see the new video from David Bowie "Where are we now?" Both are good tracks, and I wasn't expecting either one, exactly....

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Bronx are back in Town

So, ahem, a little birdie told me that there might be a way to hear the new Bronx cd ( IV) , so that's what I've been doing.
The last CD (III) was more a foray into standard Hard Rock, albeit heavily influenced by the Hardcore that is deep in the Bronx's soul. This is more Alt-Rock influenced. Lots of Rocket From the Crypt, as per usual, but tracks like "Along for the Ride" and "Style over Everything" could fit on a Foo Fighters record, if Dave was in the mood to rock much more hard than he ever has in the Foos. There's a slight Thin Lizzy reference  in the title. That's on purpose. If you're as old as me, you might remember "Thunder and Lightening" era Thin Lizzy? You might remember Rose Tattoo's "Assault and Battery" LP? Yeah, well, I can promise you that the Bronx remember it well. Still, there's something chasing Matt. I don't know if his last name is a stage name, but it fits him: Caught, Ran. Listen to "Too many Devils" and tell me he's not a haunted man- still running from something that caught him once.But, something new is here- harmony vocals, and even a little anthemic crooning from track to track.
Also as per usual, they leaven the outright blistering rockers with a ballad or two. "Torches" fills that role here and it's like the Replacements trying to do a Flogging Molly styled anthem."Life Less Ordinary " is more their typical blues number, and still hits hard, even without drums...
"Ribcage", however is a better song than The Riverboat Gamblers ( who I like, don't get me wrong) have done in years.
Let's hope that Last Revelation isn't. While I don't think we're ever going to get back first album Bronx, they still bring the Rock in a way all too few do...